Once upon a time, in January 2014 I lost my full time job due to my car breaking down,and I did what any good unemployed woman does… I trolled on Facebook. I stumbled across a link, on an author’s page that led me to tattoos, and another link led me to tattooed male models and the first photograph I saw told me the story of my debut novel. Their names, what they did – everything. In that first glance I learned the names Kasen Wells and Farrow Connoley. The title was only supposed to be the working title, and this model was going to be my cover model one way or the other.
“Keystrokes” was the little story that could. I wrote ten thousand words of it and contacted the model (with the encouragement from the snyder) and we became friends over the course of the few months it took me to write “Keystrokes”. He was excited to help out and I remember saying to him early on; “Thank you for helping a crazy Canadian.” His response was simple: “Why wouldn’t I?” I totally want to be him when I grow up. I contacted a friend to get a beta team together and WOW did they like my story, completely taking me by surprise. How could anyone like what I wrote? I am not a writer. I’m a reader. But they weren’t the only ones; a small press publisher liked my story too. I became a signed author, a dream I never knew I wanted so badly but was so pleased that I took my first step toward.
For me, the biggest obstacle was self-doubt. I can’t write. Grammar is not my second language. I am not good with words AT ALL. I still believe that my betas only told me they liked it so they didn’t hurt my feelings. I think every author experiences self-doubt at one point or another in their career. Self-doubt will DESTROY you, rot away at you from the inside. Self-doubt can make you give up, quit leave your dreams behind. Self-doubt can creep in when you least expect it. I never told my husband because I was afraid he would think it was stupid. My husband is an extremely supportive man, he would never say that-but I thought he would. I never overcame it, I just learned how to poke it in the eye and run the other way. I dealt with Self-doubt by writing my query letter, rewriting the query letter and finally just attaching the file and pressing send; totally jumping in with both feet.
I remember the day that I received the email requesting my whole manuscript. I just about lost it. I was shaking and so excited. Someone wants to read my words. On July 1, I received an email from the Entertwine Publishing officially offering me a contract and I was over the moon to say the least. I was chatting with my model, his girlfriend and their photographer all night long. We were all so ecstatic. The day I signed my contract was about a week before my family was going on summer holidays, I decided to suck it up and tell my husband. I still remember that. To my surprise, he gave me the utmost support and I should have known he would from the start, but self-doubt prevented any rational thinking.
My journey was different than many, my cover model and I became friends BEFORE the story was written. I got to know him, and looked at his pictures like a creepy cougar every day just to get that story out. I told an author friend what I was doing for accountability, so I HAD to finish because I said I would. My beta team pushed me. My online friends supported me. All of these things helped me on my journey of being an accidental author.
My advice to anyone with a dream. Writer, dancer, singer, child. KEEP DREAMING. Those dreams are yours. No one can take them from you. Find inspiration in everything you do. A song, a smell, a motion. Tell someone what you are doing, be accountable for your actions, give yourself a deadline and stick to it. Sometimes characters stop talking-this is okay. I have some that are rocking in corners and won’t come out of hiding. It happens. If you don’t like where the story is going you can do one of two things, ride the wave – see if it takes you where you want to go or CHANGE THE ENDING. It’s write the story for that FIRST person who is going to buy your book.
You don’t need to make everyone happy, just that first person who buys your book. If they are happy, it causes a chain reaction. Don’t expect to be EL James or Jamie MacGuire. You aren’t them. Write for your own fan base, not theirs. And finally, if it doesn’t feel good, TRASH IT and write again. The second time around is usually better.
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